Creative Ways to Give Money

creative ways to give money

We’ve all received those gifts that require a fake smile and public appreciation. Some gifts get re-gifted in the hope that no one will notice. Don't want to be one of those gifters? These money-centric gifts — great ways to invest in a loved one's future — are more thoughtful than simply stuffing cash in an envelope.

Give for College

It’s hard to believe, but the average cost of a four-year private college in 2018 hovers around $32,000 a year. Affording college is no small feat and students can use all the help they can get to fund their degrees.

A 529 college savings plan has become a popular way for parents, grandparents and friends to help fund a child’s college education. These plans vary from state to state, with some states offering tax incentives, however, all 529 contributions are not tax-deductible.

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One way you can give the gift of college is to set up a 529 account for that special child in your life. Companies like Collegebacker make giving the gift of college simple and easy. Within a few short minutes, you can set up an online account and designate a one-time or monthly funding amount and easily track a student's college savings.

Give to the New Investor

Why not help someone fund his or her financial future this holiday season? Two popular ways to give to a new investor include funds for a Roth IRA contribution and a gift card towards an Acorns investing account.

Roth IRA

If the gift receiver has earned income, you can gift money towards a Roth IRA contribution. The maximum contribution for 2018 is $5,500; however, you can gift any denomination up to the amount of earned income for 2018. For example, if the gift receiver earned $3,000 babysitting or freelance writing, you can gift up to $3,000. You can set up a Roth IRA at nearly every investment house, including Vanguard, Fidelity, and Betterment.


An Acorns account is a great gift idea for a new investor who is looking to dip his or her toes into investing. Acorns is a mobile app that allows you to invest in portfolios that match your risk tolerance. Acorns was built on the concept of investing your spare change to grow your wealth over time. Acorns offers gift cards for the holiday season so you can give the gift of investing in $25 denominations.

Give Credit Card Rewards

Rather than using your credit card rewards yourself, why not gift them this holiday season? In fact, 31 percent of credit card holders aren’t redeeming their miles and rewards every year and let those miles go to waste. However, credit card rewards are worth value and can be redeemed for lots of gift giving options.

• Plane tickets
• Car rental
• Hotel stays
• Gift cards for restaurants, movies and stores
• Cash back
• Entertainment, such as concert tickets

Make a list of all your rewards credit cards and then check your balances and the reward options available to you. Gifting your rewards is a great way to give money and help fund a goal.

There are lots of creative ways to give money this holiday season. Think outside the box and give money that will help fund someone’s financial future — or at least, give that person a healthy boost to get started funding his or her money goals.